What to Do About Venezuela’s Rigged Presidential Election?


Since the fraudulent National Constituent Assembly (ANC) called for an early presidential election — postponed yesterday to May 20th — a political debate arose, a binary debate with just two options: participate or stay home?

It’s the wrong way to frame it. In my opinion, the real goal is to undermine the regime and boost the chances of constitutional change. The way to do that is by organizing coordinated actions based on non-violence and non-cooperation.

That strategy can be pursued through one of two different tactics: take part in the election with the only purpose of organizing demonstrations, or organize an electoral boycott.

An electoral boycott isn’t the same thing as “not participating.” It doesn’t mean “just stay home.” It means taking election season, and election day, as a time to act, to actively organize around a protest agenda designed to persuade people not to vote.

In the end, a divided opposition is doing neither. The bulk of the opposition decided not to run, in a decision that was supported by different political leaders and civil society organizations. But rather than an active boycott, it seems to be calling for people to do nothing.

Nor is it united. According to the National Electoral Council, by February 27, six candidates had signed up to participate, including President Maduro and the former Lara State Governor Henri Falcón. Even though Falcón considered himself a representative of the opposition, the MUD said forcefully that Falcón is now outside la Unidad, having ignored its single position.

Falcón, however, isn’t leading a protest candidacy. His goal isn’t to galvanize protest against an obviously rigged vote, he’s not leading a nonviolent campaign of non-cooperation. He’s just leading a campaign.

An electoral boycott isn’t the same thing as “not participating.” It means taking the election season as a time to actively organize a protest agenda.

It’s a position that rightly makes people suspicious. There are more than enough reasons to doubt the election will be fair. The clear violation of the Venezuelan Constitution by the fraudulent constituent assembly; the lack of independence of the National Electoral Council; the arbitrary political bans on political parties and leaders of the opposition; the political bias of the Supreme Tribunal; the absence of electoral accountability, and the supra-constitutional powers of the illegitimate constituent assembly: all of these are established. In addition, the international community, from the United States and the European Union to Colombia, Argentina and Peru, have already said that they will not recognize such elections. Even to consider participating in this blatant fraud of an election called by the ANC is outrageous.

I also know the standard retort: voting is a right that defines the democratic spirit of the citizens. Calling for abstention is a denial of democracy. In the parliamentary elections of 2005, the opposition promoted abstention and the only result was a single-party Assembly. In July 2017, the opposition promoted another abstention and, again, the result was a single-party ANC. Merely abstaining has solved none of Venezuela’s problems.

Both seem like reasonable arguments. Framed as a question of “voting” or “staying home”, I might agree with each.

But that’s the wrong frame.

In a 2007 paper, J. Tucker (a political scientist at NYU) analyzed the best strategy to confront a rigged election. He finds that telling people to stay home is not the most efficient decision.

According to Tucker, “when a regime commits electoral fraud, an individual’s calculus regarding whether to participate in a protest against the regime can be changed significantly.” Even a rigged vote can create an opportunity to organize public demonstrations that can galvanize protests. You don’t “win” a rigged election by “winning it”, in other words. You win it by using it as a leverage point to galvanize street protests that destabilize the regime.

Tucker then concludes that participating in a fraudulent election is often the better strategy.

Note that Tucker is not talking about a real participation. The idea is not to nominate a candidate with a fabulous electoral program, catchy jingles and wonderful slogans. This will be useless because, let’s not forget, the election is rigged.

But there’s another strategy. According to the recently departed Gene Sharp, an electoral boycott can also turn into a non-violent instrument of protest against fraudulent elections that can undermine the pillars of an authoritarian regime. Again, the key here is that a boycott isn’t about what you don’t do, it’s about what you do. Active non-cooperation to challenge fraudulent elections certainly doesn’t mean staying at home doing nothing. It means raising hell against a system that rigged the voting system.  

The key, whether you call on people to vote or not, is to organize a non-violent movement based on non-cooperation.

Notice that, in Venezuela, we tend to use the word abstención rather than “boycott,” and anyway treat the two as rough synonyms. That’s troubling. Abstention is passive: it’s about not doing something. A true boycott, by contrast, is a huge amount of work: organizing a grassroots movement against rigged elections is an enormous challenge.

The key, whether you call on people to vote or not, is to organize a non-violent movement based on non-cooperation, to undermine the authoritarian regime. As Chenoweth and Stephan: “a critical source of the success of nonviolent resistance is mass participation, which can erode or remove a regime’s main sources of power.”  

In their empirical study, Chenoweth and Stephan show that political changes in authoritarian regimes require, as a basic condition to a successful political change, planning coordinated demonstrations that, through non-violent instruments of non-cooperation, chip away at the regime’s power. Other conditions, like diplomatic pressure, are also important. But without mass participation in domestic action, political change is unlikely.

What are the basic conditions of an electoral boycott that increase the probability of a successful political change? In Blueprint for Revolution, Popovic  — founder of Serbia’s Otpor! movement that overthrew the Milosevic — sums it in a single phrase: “It’s Unity, Stupid!”

In Popovic’s view, unity “is not only one of the most important elements of successful non-violent action but also the hardest to achieve”. Particularly in Venezuela, I add, as we witness with consternation the recent cracks in the opposition.

Back in our Tierra de Gracia, a strategy similar to the mobilization that Otpor! so brilliantly organized will help. But calling on people to stay home passively throughout the campaign and election day will do nothing to undermine the regime, and neither will trying to “win” an election that absolutely everyone can see rigged.

Putting in the hard work it takes to organize mass participation in a non-violent protest movement of non-cooperation just might, though.

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  1. “An electoral boycott isn’t the same thing as “not participating.” It means taking the election season as a time to actively organize a protest agenda.”

    That was the exact opposite of what was done in 2005, because the stab in the back that came from the coordinadora’s leadership at the time.

  2. I agree that we need to be active and do something, but a grassroots non-violent movement right now is just wishful thinking. It did not work in 2017 and it will not work now. Not with this MUD.

  3. La pregunta no es “qué hacer”. Eso está claro desde hace mucho tiempo ya. La pregunta es ¿por qué no lo hacemos?, No hay absolutamente ninguna manera de hacer lo que hay que hacer si no limpiamos nuestra casa primero. Hay demasiados elementos cómplices y corruptos (aparte de los cobardes y de los débiles) entre nosotros como para organizarnos para la lucha no violenta. Es algo que sabemos con seguridad desde por lo menos 2014 y sin embargo no hemos hecho ningún cambio.

    La oposición, tal y como la conocemos, no va a hacer un boicot de las elecciones. Esa es la verdad. No hay nada que esperar de ella.

  4. Good point.

    A good example of this was the “election” of the ANC back in July 31st; the opposition leadership did not have a plan, and the country lost an opportunity to delivery a punch, instead of the country was frozen and the gang basically went out gaining more power.

    Should the opposition have participated in the “election” of the ANC and another story would be happening. The could claim that a massive fraud just happened and increased the domestic pressure.

    Then when they did participate in the “regionales” they prepare to win instead of prepare the country and the world to claim that a massive fraud happened. They didn’t. Actually this is how the gang smartly divided the opposition leadership:

    AD had no chance to beat VP in Tachira or PJ in Anzoategui or anywhere else and suddenly they found that not only they “defeated” them but they also got the gobernaciones! What a candy! Why should we complain? And while grabbing all those budget AD prepared HRA to be the opposition candidate to surf the presidential election on the wave of the country discontent.

    For PJ was Zulia, they defeated UNT and basically erased them from the map and from there their next stop was Miraflores, or that’s what they thought. More importantly, PJ took over the Alcaldia Mayor while they kicked out Ledezma’s dolphin. Dos pajaros de un solo tiro. And do’t forget that Ledezma was there because LL was banned years before. At that time again it was dos pajaros de un solo tiro.

    Meanwhile UNT knew about the outcome in Zulia and got ready to make a comeback while his “leader” was “liberado”. Why should we complain?

    In the south, Andres Velazquez was fighting his Bolivar because he had the actas. For him the whole fraud was about the actas. And suddenly he found himself in the center of a fight ala “David vs Goliath” and he started dreaming about becoming president again.

    Unfortunately for the gang is very easy to manipulate most of the opposition leadership: few of them have shown they are not willing to play those games and their fate so far is the one of Oscar Perez.

    • “Should the opposition have participated in the “election” of the ANC and another story would be happening. The could claim that a massive fraud just happened and increased the domestic pressure.”

      You could not seriouly think to participate in the election. The “bases comiciales” were fucked up and only handpicked candidates were allowes to stand. The conditions for the presidenciales are slightely different in that they would allow some opposition candidates, but that would be for the show only. If the regime wants to keep power no real election will be allowed

  5. And in the end we will have to deal with the ANC. Unless there’s an extreme unexpected event, I don’t see anything changing. Prepárense para Maduro hasta el 2024. Patria y CLAP.

  6. Finally a good article about our pre-MegaFraud Kleptozuelan dilemma.

    “An electoral boycott isn’t the same thing as “not participating.” It doesn’t mean “just stay home.” It means taking election season, and election day, as a time to act, to actively organize around a protest agenda designed to persuade people not to vote.”

    Several problems though in Chavistoide land:

    1- Unity, yes, as Mr Popovitch points out. Not only is the MUD divided and corrupt. The pueblo-people are the same. Don’t forget that there are Millions and Millions of Enchufados Chavistoides, Today. An estimated 25% of the adult population, either bribed leeches, corrupt public employees extorted by their captors, or clueless sheep severely lobotomized with zero education. Yes, Millions, everywhere, of such average pueblo-people.

    Then, the majority, sure, detests the Genocidal Tyranny. Ok. But almost 4 Million of those are GONE. And the remainder are scared to death. Of losing their jobs and benefits, crap, bonos and shit, or getting arrested, even killed. Do we forget what happened during the last “peaceful street protests”, just last year? Or some dudes named Leopoldo, Ledezma, Oscar Perez.. ?

    The Criminal Regime’s enforcers, the Sebin, GNB, Collectivo Assassins and other professional thugs will be ready, paid for massive repression in the streets. Calling it “Guarimberos” “led by la derecha fascita y el imperio” “boycoteando las elecciones”.. Massive repression, shots, gas, the first signs of organized street protests. You can bet your house on that, just as surely as Cabello, Tarek, Rodriguez and all Generals have thousands of bank accounts in Europe, as surely as Del Pino had a sex-change operation and is now posing as TibiBitch. Street protests would be voilently crushed in a hurry, Cuban style.

    2- Money. Who has the money to BRIBE our “bravo pueblo”, to organize such massive protests nationwide? That ain’t cheap, and the MUD doesn’t get a large cash cut from the Drug Trade Industry, yet. Or 35 Million US$ per day for oil. The Regime has all the cash to bribe potential protesters, voters or sheep. To intimidate, extort and buy silence with a box of rotten ClapCrap. Remember, people are starving, above all. They want food for today, they’ll sell their souls for a chicken soup. It’s been abundantly proven that money buys votes, or silence at least, in Klepto-Cubazuela. The the Chavista Pueblo-People Bribery Machine (Maquina Rebolusionaria de Sobornos Populares (MRSP) is already in full motion for the MegaFraud in May.

    Still, good post, it’s the right idea. But above all make it clear: do NOT vote. Protest, if you dare. (Chapeau if you do, comfortably and safely here from Miami..) Borges, Allup, Capriles, MCM and everyone overseas should be calling for what Tucker suggests, organized, massive, united, peaceful protests AND non-vote the day of the elections. Start working on it now, low key, under the radar..

    Easier said than done.. Ask Tucker or Popovic, ask yourselves: would you send your own wives and teenage sons and daughters out to the streets of Caracas that day, the most dangerous city on the planet, with a bloody record of death and violent repression? That’s easy to say from the USA, Chile or Spain.. Do it in Petare, La Boyera, 23 de Enero or Guatire. Even in Altamira.. Dale Pues!

  7. “A true boycott, by contrast, is a huge amount of work: organizing a grassroots movement against rigged elections is an enormous challenge”

    Unfortunately and regrettably Venezuela doesn’t have an unified or trustworthy opposition. It is “blessed” with this bunch of opportunist called MUD that are barley better than your average chavista. They’ve managed to be outplayed by the dictatorship since 1999. They had some momentum going last year but cunts like HRA were quick to kill that as soon as possible governorship were on the horizon. So the grassroots movement that is necessary for this true boycott to work is not existing. Untill LL is free to run for office I don’t see people coming out to vote massively. MUD is as DEAD as a DODO.

    Civil War is, imho, the only way out at this point in time. May the streets be flooded with rojo rojito blood ASAP!!!

  8. Good advice. People have to stop thinking about this election being a decisive event (one way or another), and instead, as a rallying point in a broader movement of non-cooperation.

    I think that is where the boycott of the recent Kenyan election may have gone off the rails: groups tried to block voting and to do so violently in some cases. It is not the voting or not voting that matters all that much in this current situation. It is the opportunity for mobilization that the polls provide that can work for the opposition. But there is this problem of organization and unity. My fear is, it becomes an opportunity for violence and ad hoc mischief and score settling that plays to the regime’s hand. It has to be a disciplined mobilization, it has to be broad based, and it has to be for more than a day. I’m not giving up hope as I think we’ve seen the seeds of this already.

    • I’m having a hard time seeing a broad-based, disciplined mobilization beiing put together today Cannuck. Who the heck could organize such a thing right now, the MUD? They lost credibility last August when they called for participating in the elections after the ANC fraud was dumped on the country. LL seems more unsure than ever of how to solve the crisis other than throwing everything, including violence via a military solution:

      “López was also flexible in his thinking about transition. Through most of our conversations, he strongly opposed the idea of military action, but when we spoke late the other night, he said he was beginning to think differently. An unwelcome mechanism can bring welcome change.

      “In 1958, there was a military coup that began the transition to democracy,” he said. “And in other Latin American countries, there have been coups that called elections. So I don’t want to rule anything out, because the electoral window has been closed. We need to go forward on many different levels. One is street demonstrations; a second is coordination with the international community. But this is how I’m thinking now: We need to increase all forms of pressure. Anything, anything that needs to happen to produce a free and fair election.””

      • I don’t know the concrete answer to your question as to who the heck could organize such a thing right now. The abstract answer could be something like: a leader of a group of port employees, the electrical workers union, bank workers, PDVSA workers, that sort of thing, or a combination.

        Regarding those quotes from LL, I find them a little surprising because talk about military action in some form or other is not constructive and not the path I’ve seen him taking this far.

        Why? I’ve been hearing the story about the “friend of a friend” who is in the military and says for sure they will be “doing something about it soon” for a long long time- many years that rumour about the good professionals in the military has been going around. All that message says to people is: no need to take action into your own hands….wait and see.

        That story about the good professionals in the Venezuelan military has now morphed into the same story but about the good professionals in someone else’s military. Like the original version, all that message says to people is: no need to take action into your own hands…wait and see.

        A military coup or outside takeover is not going to be able to hold the situation together. It has to be a mass movement, or it is going to be more of the same, or even worse.

        • What those of us on the ground here are seeing is the last part, that part about “even worse”.

          A few years ago I’d look at things on a last-year-to-this-year basis to view the changes in the country. Last year it became a last-month-to-this-month basis. This year it has now become a last-week-to-this-week basis to see the deteroriation at all levels.

          When it gets to a yesterday-compared-to-today basis, I guess we’re at the end.

          I’ve noticed that in addition to all the other things that are slowly but surely crumbling, the ability to communicate via telephone is also in rapid decline.

          Movilnet, the most popular service provider here locally because it’s government-owned and therefore the cheapest, is really in dramatic decline here because no one can find the cards to recharge their service and the government appears to be in no rush to do anything about it.

          Additionally, many of the telephones that come with the movilnet service are also government-provided and are therefore of low quality. They die easily and now costs are so high for new ones that, for many locals, they can’t be replaced. The result is that I’m hearing more and more people saying they’re just doing without a telephone.

          Frankly, I’m shocked the lights are still on.

  9. What a naive take. Protests are already occurring daily. There’s no reason to think that what they couldn’t achieve in 2017 would be achieved now.

    More importantly, the regime is already destabilizing. Mass defections on the army, GNB and PDVSA are already happening due to the terrible work conditions. Venezuela is already on the path of being treated as a rogue state. The “pillars of power” of the regime are already being shaken by the regime itself.

    So actually, “doing nothing”, at least regarding the rigged election, IS the best course of action. Doing what’s being proposed in this post would achieve nothing that isn’t already being achieved, and could backfire.

    We need to wake up from the dream that “mass protests” will bring about regime change. The road lies elsewhere and is more complicated.

    As the regime weakens, it leaves a void that is being filled by colectivos, pranes, and other actors that are technically part of the government but don’t always follow orders, like SEBIN and parts of the military. Many regions of Venezuela are already rogue zones, lawless, where Maduro has no power.

    This will intensify. There may be a point where Maduro is technically president in Caracas, but that is irrelevant to most of the population in Venezuela.

    Even if there is a breaking point and Maduro falls from power, all these strongly armed groups will immediately attempt to seize power by force. Do you think there will be a “Plan Republica”, where the completely corrupt military organizes clean elections for a civil government that will wrest power from them, and most likely imprison them in the future? There is no actor in the country with both the will to lead us back to democracy and the power to force the other groups to accept it.

    In the end, outside military intervention will be required. I guess UN peacekeeping or a joint force from other Latin American countries would be best. No way around it.

    Lots of people think it’s naive to think military intervention will happen. I don’t know if it’ll eventually happen or not. What it think it’s really naive is to think there’s anything else that can prevent the country from turning into Somalia.

    • Good points. I agree. Some protests, to voice internationally that people are not voting and that it’s a mega-fraud will not hurt. But you’re basically right, which is why I’ve been writing for months that it’s up to my buddy Rex. Cutting the oil cash for starters, 35 Million US$ less per day to bribe the corrupt military. That probably will not be enough to piss off the military and the millions of bribed pueblo-people Enchufados too, needed for a revolt, an implosion. So Rex will probably have to go for plan B, Seal tem 6, grab some Narcos, Panama Cara-e’Piña style. Then International UN peacekeeping forces and transition to some MUD Mess..

      Yeah, get used to it. Gringos to the rescue, like it or not.

      • Poeta Criollo, why would “your buddy” Rex be waiting for these fraudulent elections before the US cuts off those 35 million a day in revenues. They know about all the misery Venezuelans go through day after day. People dying, huge amounts of drug trafficking, etc etc. There are more than enough reasons to do so immediately. .. but they don’t. I don’t see it happening unfortunately. Dunno the reasons, might be that the US isn’t ready to see the Castro clan fall or God knows what other reasons they might have. It’s obvious they have A reason not to cut Maduro’s 35 million daily bonus off for now. Furthermore please stop daydreaming about “your” seal team 6 and/or marines coming in to restore order. It will NEVER happen, no regional support what so ever, no UN support what so ever (China and Russia would veto it) but most importantly. ..NO US DOMESTIC SUPPORT WHAT SO EVER. How the hell is Trump going to sell the idea it’s necessary for US soldiers blood to flow in the streets of Caracas. It will NEVER EVER happen. …. EVER!!!!

        • If the US isn’t willing to send ground troops into Syria, where 100’s of thousands of innocent people get killed. Where the regime even uses chemical weapons, why would they send in troops into VZ? There aren’t vast amounts of dead Venezuelans in streets and I’m pretty sure the cunt chavistas know that there is a line they can’t cross and won’t. Not because they give a flying fuck about “el cobarde pueblo” but because if there were to be 10’s of thousands of dead people in their streets they would have a real problem staying in power.
          As to the Narco trafficking. … you know who’s it’s biggest supporter in keeping that business going? The multi billion dollar weapon industry lobby in the US …. no more war to stop drug trafficking. … no more weapons to sell. It’s one of THE biggest industries in the US. If Uncle Sam really would want to eradicate cocaine production it has all the technology and power to do so … but it doesn’t. Proof of that is the FACT that several years ago the STOPPED spraying poison from planes on the cocaine leave fields in Colombia. Production has skyrocketed as did the trafficking. Cocaine has never been so cheap and there is so much around that those who have it in store are selling bit by bit so the price doesn’t even drop more. A kilo here in Europe is now around 18k, 4 years ago it was around 34-36k. They have easily a 100.000 kilos in store right here right now and tons are coming in on a weekly base. Just so you know 😉

          • And did you hear about the guy in California who invented a carburetor that would allow the average car to go 150 miles on one gallon of gasoline?

            The big oil companies bought up his patent, and are paying him 50 million dollars a year just to keep his mouth shut.

            Just so you know ????

    • No. Estoy de acuerdo en que no hacer nada es mejor que hacer lo que siempre hacen. Pero las protestas masivas son más efectivas de lo que crees y son necesarias para que se dé una intervención.
      Lo que pasa es que no hay forma de que nuestras acciones tengan éxito si no limpiamos la casa primero y no nos organizamos bien para la una verdadera lucha. Demasiados corruptos, demasiados cómplices, demasiados débiles, demasiados cobardes.
      Todos nuestros intentos han sido saboteados directamente desde lo interno porque no tenemos nuestra propia contrainteligencia y porque no estamos debidamente organizados para lo que realmente tenemos que hacer.
      Tú mismo Carlos fuiste siempre un influenciador de los enemigos internos que sabotean desde adentro la lucha.
      El primer paso en realidad es crear una red de inteligencia y sacar del juego poco a poco a los elementos corruptos, saber quién es quién. Es complejo, pero no se puede llamar a la calle si no se hace eso primero. Y más de uno va a terminar como Óscar Pérez.

  10. Anyone who has seen the daily passive/occasionally cowered Pueblo (95% of total pop.) waiting in hours-long lines in the hot sun/sometimes overnight for a smattering of price-regulated basic foodstuffs, or for Bs. 10m (5 CENTS at free-market rate) cash from a bank automated teller machine, without even a peep expressed against the Govt., knows that the 5% of total pop. that knows which end is up, some of which MAY think of trying to organize an anti-Govt. election boycott, at the risk of their own skin, would be foolish/wasting their time to even try the type of endeavor suggested in this article (this post is for the new CC White Papers, which will soon supplement the Caracas Chronicles, (at an extra cost, of course)–an effort to not just accentuate/report the everyday negative that is Venezuela, but to suggest/debate POSITIVE alternatives to Venezuela’s crisis)….

  11. Q: “What to Do About Venezuela’s Rigged Presidential Election?”

    A. NOTHING. Its a fraud, ergo there is NOTHING you can do about the elections, other than keep pointing out the fraud.

    And when it is all said and done, and the “new, improved All Chavista AN” is elected (unconstitutionally, as is their Modus Operandi) and things keeps spiraling down the shitter, and there is NO FOOD and NO MONEY and NO JOBS and NO HOPE, the wheels are going to come off and Chavismo will have nobody to blame (they will try) because they own ALL OF THIS SHIT.

    Only when Maduro et alli cannot buy off the Dumb Masses will any meaningful protests start. A hundred thousand deaths by starvation and disease ought to wake them up.

  12. There are more than enough reasons to doubt the election will be fair….

    Why didn’t you mention the fraud of at least a million votes, according to Smartmatic, in the July 31 ANC “election?” .Or is that subsumed under “lack of electoral accountability?”

    One tactic to consider would be sit-ins in the mesas. That would really gum up the electoral machinery. They can arrest 5,000, but they can’t arrest a million. Which means that if this is not done on a massive basis, it would be a failure.

    • there were a bit over 3 million votes according to reuters. VOTES not voters, they had some people voting several times, they had people voting before the day of the election as well. I’d say there weren’t even 2million people voting out of conviction and without being offered an immediate reward in that “election”

  13. the paralysis of the opposition is easy to explain, we reached a point in wich wathever you do the result will be defeat. If you do massive protests they’ll kill or jail everyone, if you strike you won’t eat and lose the job, if you have a chance to win an election you get banned from running, if you take up arms they’ll execute you mercilessly, if they get international sanctions the blame the sanctions for the crisis, if you win the election they won’t allow you to exercise power, if you abstain from voting you lose the election and nothing happens….

    The opposition is in a lose lose situation as long as the army support the regime, the regime knows this, and the mud seems unable to come up with an alternative to break the stalement. It is really incredible how we got to a point in wich they stole all power from the people, no wonder why the collective desition is emigration, it seems to be the only viable path.

  14. Since all roads lead to Rex, this is what I think the US administration is considering now:

    – Something has to be done about Kleptozuela: too important geo-politically, economically to be left alone like Cuba was. Allowing Haitis, Somalias, Syrias or Zimbabwes is very different.
    – Wait & see for now for several reasons: imminent mega-fraud elections: gotta wait to see what happens. The fraud will favor international opinion to intervene.
    – Wait & see because of the delicate elections in Colombia, Brazil.. Mexico? The entire region is at stake, with Chavismo threats everywhere on key countries. Those aren’t Nicaragua or Ecuador or Bolivia ‘shitholes’ no one really cares about.. It’s Kleptozuela, Colombia, Brazil and Mexico, no less, near dubious elections. After the dust settles on those 4 countries, time to lay down the hammer, proportionally. First cut the oil cash, and, if necessary, a few Apache helicopters in the night. Listo el pollo.

    • I think right now a lot of the oil goes to Russia and China. They have a very valuable stake in Venezuela. I don’t see how the US can interfere. It’s simply not realistic.

      • The Monroe Doctrine is still very much alive for the U.S. vis-a-vis L.A., and Russia/China know it. The U.S. has a LOT at stake to keep L.A. from going Castro-Communist; Russia/China have little at stake, mainly money owed them, which will be agreed to be paid off.

  15. I appreciate the analysis in this article, but I think it’s kind of splitting hairs that are too thin to matter at this stage of the game.

    The basic elements are not there…not even remotely there…for anything positive to happen:

    Opposition organization…zero.

    Opposition credibility…zero.

    Will of the people….zero.

    CC could have shut down a year or two again, because as most of us have been saying, it really IS over, barring U.S. military intervention. That, my friends, is the only hope for this shithole.

    • Meh… I enjoy a lot of what I read here. Its a nice break. I think Naky is a gem.

      What you mention above about the opposition and the people are true. It doesn’t matter what the opposition says, because they all spout the same BS over and over, with different actors attached to it. I can’t find a bolos worth of difference between PJ, AD, UNT, blah blah blah… Its all Chavismo Lite. They all think that THEIR version of Chavismo will work and that THEY have the ideas to buy more/better votes.

      What needs to happen is for the Achievers to stop whatever they are doing and JUST DO NOTHING. By nothing, I mean do nothing. Get some supplies, (water, batteries, canned goods, cash…) and do nothing. Sell everything. Go for a walk across the border. Go on vacation. GO ON STRIKE FROM THEIR DAILY GRIND. As Ayn Rand said so eloquently… SHRUG.

      Teachers? Doctors and nurses? Mechanical engineers? Electricians? Plumbers? Mechanics? Store/bodega owners? Farmers? Truck drivers? Don’t go to work! Don’t even answer your phone when your “boss” (who doesn’t pay you enough for daily expenses) calls and says, “IF YOU DON”T SHOW UP TO WORK TODAY, YOU’RE FIRED!” You don’t owe them an excuse… Chavismo owes them an excuse. Tell your irate boss to call Maduro, Delcy and Diosdado and complain.

      NOTHING WILL CHANGE until the machine stops. Monkey wrench the machine.

      • I’m just saying, nothing is going to happen. It’s over.


        Not mentioned yet on CC, I don’t think, is the reopening of the embassy in Miami. Don’t know if they paid their back rent yet, but even so, all Venezuelans in the states who want to vote at this consulate…simply can’t.

        They have to register to do it for the FOLLOWING “elections.”

        It’s over. The fat lady has sung, and she took an enormous shit at the same time.

  16. Article I’d like to read: a statistical analysis of what could happen if disaffected chavistas and opposition light people turn out en masse and hardcore oppo stays home.

    • 90% of Venezuelans are disaffected Chavistas. That’s the problem with the whole fucking country.

      They voted this coup-monger scumbag into office in the first place, instead of demanding his execution for trying to overthrow Peres and killing VZ democracy.

      Doesn’t matter how you label people over the past few years. Label them as they were in 1999.

    • Many of us can’t use links to the Miami Herald, because they limit you to just a few articles a month unless you pay.

      And believe me, the Miami Herald isn’t worth paying for.

      Oppenheimer, for example, is a useless jerk.

      • Sorry, I don’t normally read or link to Miami Herald (I live a few thousand miles away from Florida). the article just showed up on my Verizon cell phone feed. The gist is in my comment (Maduro demands $50M, gets $35M).

        Here is something from a disenchanted Chavista:

        “Minister, how do you feed your family? Do you steal?”

        “We do not understand how the Minister of Defense, to expose a single case, can sustain his beautiful daughters abroad who, due to the robustness of their breasts shown on the web, each one must eat at least half a kilo of ham serrano every morning madrileña, amen of what consume accompanying relatives, back and chauffeur. Will he get his salary and other extras he should receive to buy the dollars required to support his family in that golden exile? Is the Venezuelan State responsible for the maintenance of this family? That is serious because it constitutes an offense punishable by law. Will the prosecutor be aware of such an irregularity or does he do the same?”


        No pay wall with Aporrea!

  17. The opposition should field a candidate. They should take Falcon somewhere and drown him and put a patriot into the fraudulent process.
    The opposition candidate should make it abundantly clear to the voters that ships full of medicine, food, HD TVs, New Iphones, US Dollars, Unicorns farting Skittles, and anything else imaginable await delivery as soon as this regime is out of power.
    The point that I am trying to make is that the people that supported Chavez because of his promises of something for nothing, may fall for it again. What have they got to lose? As for the food and medicine, the regime’s refusal to allow humanitarian aid is true and can be exploited. The regime uses food and medicine to control the population. Humanitarian aid is a weapon the regime uses against anyone that dissents.
    When the fraudulent results are announced and the regime claims victory, the realization that all of the “free stuff” the people voted themselves, may be the impetus to overthrow the regime.
    The people need to see the regime as the ONLY impediment to access to necessities and the rule of law. When Maduro can no longer claim that the US is fighting an economic war against Venezuela and the people realize that the war is the regime against the people, regime change may finally occur.
    There will be a day of reckoning for the opposition when the people realize that this was a mirage. There will be a great influx in humanitarian aid and the opportunity to restore Venezuela to a first world country. The improvements should soften the reality.
    The fraudulent election is a given. As sure as the sun will rise the regime will cheat. The opposition needs to use this ability to see into the future to their advantage rather than wringing their hands, fighting among themselves and crying foul while the country continues to deteriorate.

    • This is why I think Leopoldo is coming up with this same bullshit plan and promise, just another way of distributing oil $ “to the people.” Something for nothing.

      He realizes this is the only way to get support.

      Of course, after his severe incarceration, he might just be going fucking crazy.

      Either way, he gets a pass in my book. The only guy worthy of leading the country, except for possibly Ledezma, who was smarter by getting the fuck out of there when he could.

      But LL wins on bravery.

  18. The regimes problems are just beginning , not because of anything the opposition does or doesnt do but because its dug itself into the biggest shit hole ever The country is rapidly losing whatever gains it made in the last century and becoming a ruin with no modern communications , roads , transportation , medical services etc. unable to feed its people or give them any of their customary comforts and babbles ….only hot air…., if people can take it day after day doesnt mean that they will take it forever , there is no chance of improvement on any front , no hope , no joy only the misery of a life few can withstand thus the mass migrations ……the goverments whole effort is in creating a charade even their own followers dont believe in….everything from them sounds so phony its depressing !! it makes you nostalgic for the bad old days not of the 4th republic (which comparatively were much better) but to the days of mean old general gomez ….if we only were so lucky to get someone like him to take over the country …..!!

    There is always this comparison to Cuba but this is no Castro regime , for one Cuba for most of the time counted with the unconditional support of a big time spender be it the soviet union of chavez oil rich venezuela, china has told the regime in no uncertain terms , no more money for you because youll just waste it so the only money is tied to projects they are directly involved in and protects the investments they have already made in the oil sector , the russians dont want to get into the act direclty they have to do it thru rosnef with the pretext of being oil business related but they have their own problems with their creditors , not to mention the tightening vise of US and other international sanctions which have just started to bite

    The other difference is that while Castro was wildly popular at the start and a bit of his original popularity stuck to him despite what came afterwards , this regime has become the poster boy for all thats wrong in a banana dictatorship and worse , every single left wing political world leader tries to mark a distance from the regime , Maduro has definitely failed to fill Chavez shoes and there is an universal loathing for him and his regime , even those that might not want to condem him are embarrased at being associated with it.

    If people could be mobilized to protest against the regime on the day of the elecction it would make for good headlines but even if such mobilization didnt happen already there is an absolute lack of credibility for the sham election . Dont think that Falcons participation makes the least bit of difference , he is outside our country almost totally unknown and not all that liked by meanstream oppos…..he is into a game of his own , maybe preparing for a time when the regime has to give things up and dont want the mainstream oppos to take over from them …who knows ?? but I repeat this process has just started …..

    • You are correct about the difference in world opinion between Cuba and Vz.

      Hell, even the Canadiens don’t like the Maduro regime.


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